VA to Share Medical Information with Defense Department

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday that it will share medical records with the Department of Defense in the hopes of improving care for Veterans.

“VA and DOD clinicians must have the most accurate and comprehensive data available to ensure they provide the highest quality care possible” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. “We have discovered that, particularly in this age of electronic health records, this regulatory restriction created an impediment to maximizing this exchange of information.”

The department amended a regulation that previously prevented VA from sharing pertinent medical information with the Defense Department.  Now, VA will be permitted to disclose information regarding Veterans’ medical history, including treatment records related to substance abuse, HIV and sickle cell anemia.

According to the VA, “A recent VA review of information sharing processes with DOD found that this restriction . . . impedes VA’s ability to share important medical information to coordinate the care and treatment of Veterans.”

The new regulation can be found at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=VA-2011-VHA-0025-0001.

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